Toronto trades a first and second rounder in next summer's draft, as well as a first round pick in 2011 to Boston for the rights to winger Phil Kessel. The Leafs promptly signed Kessel to a five-year deal worth $27.5 million.


The Leafs get: A proven sniper who has already topped 30 goals in a season and seems to have his sights set on 40 or even 50-plus. The Leafs paid a high price, but given their spotty draft record and the fact that Kessel is so young, it was something they needed to do. Of more concern is the inflated contract. That's close to 50 percent more than what David Krejci will make, but Kessel is not a better player. He could earn that quickly though, and shut us all up. Why didn't the Leafs try an offer sheet? Because the Bruins would have matched it and then they would have never dealt with Toronto. The Leafs would then be left with nothing but those picks they would have lost.


The Bruins get: Killer picks. This team is one of the better teams at the NHL level. They also boast one of the stronger farm systems - Vladimir Sobotka is NHL ready and a second-liner on many other squads, but barely makes this one; Joe Colborne is one of the best prospects out there; etc. Now they boast a pile of great picks that they can use at the deadline to fill any gaps. Awesome deal for Boston.


Fantasy Players Impacted: Given Kessel's shoulder injury, the wingers in Boston were going to be playing with him out of the lineup anyway. No change in Boston, although maybe Sobotka gets a bit of breathing room.


In Toronto, there is already a dogfight for a top six spot. Now the winner(s) will need to continue to prove themselves because come November/December one of them will get demoted. That is when Kessel returns from his surgery. Kessel himself will continue to improve his points per game this year and next as he further develops. In the Fantasy Guide, I will not be changing his prediction.


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David Arnold said:

re:Rickard Wallin having seen all 4 Leaf pre-season games,i can guarantee that Wallin will not be a top 6 forward,there is plenty of competition for those spots,in fact i wouldn't be surprised if Wallin doesn't even crack the line-up or at least not as an everyday player.I seriously doubt Allison will stick either,i actually like the guy but Wilso n stated that if he couldn't be a top 6 forward then there was no need to keep him and i don't think he's shown enough so far(the leafs do have 5 more games to play)
September 19, 2009
Votes: +0

Jocular Hockey Manager said:

Odd twist being able to call parting with Kessel a postive Not very often one can spin things so that parting with a young commodity like Kessel is a positive. Marco Sturm missed most of last season and given the opportunity can threaten 30-30. Ryder should be a similar 30-30. Lucic should continue to mature. Recchi needs opportunity. Wheeler & Kobasew need more opportunity. Three good centres. Lots of interesting pups that need room for opportunity. This helps them. At first glance it does appear that parting with Kessel can be good. I wonder though, if he becomes a 70 point guy for a decade, whether it will look as good at the end of the deal.
September 19, 2009
Votes: +0

sentium said:

... I think this affects the numbers of the rest of the Boston wingers. The two months Kessel was going to miss doesn't matter, but for the rest of the season that's a lot of PP minutes that will go to the other wingers which will lead to greater production.
September 19, 2009
Votes: +0

paul faure said:

Offer sheet I agree with Darcy Sulz, no way Boston matches the offer sheet. $5.4 would put them too far above the CAP (probably $4 million). They would have to start making drastic changes. At least 3 players would have to be dropped to the minors or traded away for nothing to compensate.

Way too much risk for a 2011 first round pick vs. a 2011 third round pick.

Dont forget, they still have 3 signed players (Whitfield, Boychuk and Sabourin) which they have not released their cap hit for (
September 19, 2009
Votes: +0

Mark said:

Kessel As a (long suffering) Leafs fan, I like this deal for Toronto. Sure, the asking price was high, but Phil was a high first rounder who has progressed in each of his first 3 seasons. The Leafs will likely not be a lottery draft team this year or next, as Burke will deliver on his promise to ice a reasonably competitive team in Toronto. As for attitude and injury concerns, he's still only 21...and the 11 games he missed 2 years ago were as a result of cancer. Good on him for coming back after that ordeal. It should be noted Kess was voted by his own teammates as the B's candidate for the Bill Masterton award back in '07, an award he went on to win. The award is for the NHL player "who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to ice hockey".

I'm hoping he grows up in Toronto, under the tutelage of both Wilson and Burke, and that he fulfills the promise that once made him the 2nd best junior prospect behind Sidney Crosby. Maybe this deal does for Toronto what the Brett Hull trade did for St. Louis way back when (well, they never did win a Cup...but Hull went on to become one of the greatest goal scorers in NHL history). Or maybe it becomes a Kurvers-for (essentially) -Neidermeyer-type bust. (And maybe the Bruins end up taking guys like Scott Thornton, Rob Pearson and Steve Bancroft with their 3 high picks in the next couple of years).

The easy part is done, now the hard part for Burke and the Leafs' turn Kess into a perennial 40-goal scorer.
September 19, 2009
Votes: +0

Jon Dey said:

What this does for Cabbagetown and Beantown? Leafs obviously get stronger goal scoring now. It also gives them a chance to stash prospects in the minors to really develop. Meanwhile all the guys on T.O. get to showcase their talent all year long for deadline trades. Given Toronto's core (anyone under contract past this season) Burke can deal a lot while still making the playoffs given the style he likes to go with on his rosters, 2 lines of skaters and 2 lines of checkers.

If you look at the leafs salary commitments past this year, they have A LOT of room. If they make the play-offs this year (and they now have a better shot) their pick would not be that good, and would also be more enticing to free-agents on which they will have a ton of room to spend. Factor that with the CAP expected to go down and they are sitting pretty with their core intact while a lot of other teams will have to deal or let UFAs and RFAs walk, which Toronto can sign at their leisure.

Honestly look at the numbers and you will see that almost every mediocre or fringe player is off the books at the end of the season, and Toronto will have a lot of prime talent ready to fill those gaps.

I HATE that they gave up the two 1sts on principle, but, it really does not hurt them if you can see the opportunity around the corner. Burke is brash but not stupid, and he is seeing a bigger picture past this year. It is just "good" or rather easy PRESS for the media to jump on and fill column inches with.

Meanwhile, Boston gets two first this year and two firsts next, and have most of their core tied up till the end of next season, and also dump some over-paid and some over-the-hill players. Plus they will have an over-flowing cupboard in terms of prospects. Or they can deal prospects and picks alone at the Draft and move into contention for top picks. All the options in the world. They could in effect finish very deep in the playoffs in the next two years, and still in both years trade UP and draft elite talent.

There really is no bad in this deal if you break it down. As a Leaf fan I would definitely have preferred to sign Kessel through an offer sheet, but, it helps Burke avoid that stigma because no one in the old boys club likes being poached, and helps everyone save face and stay of good terms. No one wins, no one really loses.
September 19, 2009
Votes: +1

Darcy Sulz said:

Re: offer sheet Dobber - "Why didn't the Leafs try an offer sheet?"

- because Burke and his ego didn't want to be a hypocrite and they paid dearly for it. They'd have saved a bundle on an offer sheet IMO, and I don't think Chiarelli would have matched it given their cap situation.
September 19, 2009
Votes: +0

Rob said:

Rickard Wallin Hey Dobber-
I haven't heard any news on wallin lately and was wondering how he's looked in leafs camp thus far. Do you still think he can crack a top 6 role this season? Anything change from what has been said about him in the guide? Much appreciated.
September 19, 2009
Votes: +0
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